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Christopher Maloney, Auburn University
Sulligent is located in Lamar County in northwest Alabama on the Mississippi border. It has a mayor/council form of government. Noted potter Jerry Brown was born in Sulligent.
Moore-Hill House
The earliest settlers in the area that now encompasses Sulligent built homes not far from a portion of the Andrew Jackson's Military Road constructed after the Creek War of 1813-14 to facilitate travel across the northern region of the state. James Greer Bankhead, father of Alabama senator John Hollis Bankhead, built a house in the community in the 1850s, and several members of the Bankhead political dynasty would be born in the home. Their birthplace also has been referred to as Moscow, a nearby small town to the southeast that mostly burned down in the late 1880s. Efforts are underway to restore the house.
The construction of the Kansas City, Memphis and Birmingham Railroad in 1887 spurred economic growth; Sulligent was originally called Elliot for the chief engineer of that railroad. It was later renamed Sulligent for the last names of two other railroad officials, Sullivan and Sargent (or Sargeant). The town was incorporated February 12, 1897.
James Greer Bankhead Home
Sulligent became the center of commerce in north Lamar County with many businesses engaged in processing and shipping cotton to Memphis, Tennessee, to the north, and to Birmingham, Jefferson County, to the east. Warehouses, a livery stable, a bank, a lumber company and yard, a brick kiln, and a milling company were built in the early 1900s. In addition, the Sulligent Oil Company was reputed to be for a time the largest cotton gin under one roof and for years was a major business in the area, employing as many as 35 to 40 workers. In the 1950s, an apparel plant opened in Sulligent and led to the establishment of a few other clothing manufacturing firms including a sports apparel company; none are still in operation.
Sulligent Post Office, ca. 1900
According to 2016 Census estimates, Sulligent recorded a population of 2,063. Of that number, 77.4 percent reported itself as white, 22.2 percent as African American, 2.8 percent as Hispanic or Latino, and 0.5 percent as two or more races. The median household income was $29,297 and the per capita income was $14,519.
According to 2016 Census estimates, the Sulligent workforce was divided among the following industrial categories:
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (23.4 percent)
· Manufacturing (17.8 percent)
· Retail trade (13.8 percent)
· Transportation and warehousing, and utilities (10.4 percent)
· Construction (8.9 percent)
· Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services (8.1   percent)
· Public administration (7.1 percent)
· Other services, except public administration (3.1 percent)
· Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste   management services (3.1 percent)
· Finance and insurance, and real estate and rental and leasing (2.6 percent)
· Information (1.8 percent)
Public education in Sulligent is administered by the Lamar County school system which oversees one kindergarten through 12th-grade school.
Sulligent is accessed by U.S. Highway 278 and State Highway 118 which run east-west and by State Highway 17 that runs north-south. Lamar County Airport is located approximately four miles south of Sulligent. The Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Company operates a rail line through Sulligent.
Events and Places of Interest
The Ogden House
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Sulligent is the James Greer Bankhead Home (ca. 1850), which also was documented by the Historical American Building Survey in 1936. Listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage is the Ogden House (ca. 1888). The Moore-Hill House (1834) is believed to be the oldest building in Lamar County; it was formerly on the Alabama Preservation Alliance's list of Alabama's Most Endangered Historic Places but has since been restored. Sulligent sponsors an Old Fashioned Day featuring arts and crafts in early October.
Published:  January 18, 2013   |   Last updated:  September 27, 2018